Forced industrialization, which was launched under the First Five-Year Plan, was a formative event that set the course of the Soviet economy. Stalin and other Soviet rulers have repeatedly stated, with uncharacteristic candor, that the objective of industrialization was the creation of defense capability, as well as building socialism. The main feature of industrialization, primacy of heavy industry, was said to serve the same twin goals. The standard Sovietological account civilianizes industrialization by downgrading or omitting the objectives proclaimed by Stalin, and substituting growth for its own sake as the sole motive. It derives the priority of heavy industry from the writings of Marx and the obscure Soviet economists. This account disregards or glosses over contradictory Soviet sources, violates the basics of the economic approach, and fails to draw connections to similar policies in other countries and periods.
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